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Gov. George W. Bush Holds Campaign Rally in Benton Harbor, Michigan

Aired October 27, 2000 - 1:41 p.m. ET


NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: After quite an uproarious buildup, George W. Bush has been introduced here at Lake Michigan College, an area that has supported the GOP in the last three presidential elections. He's in Benton Harbor, Michigan. He came from Kalamazoo earlier today, where he held another rally.

So, we'll listen in and see what's on his mind this afternoon in Michigan. And there's the Republican governor behind him, Governor John Engler.


GOV. GEORGE W. BUSH (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Thanks so very much. Dr. Papas (ph), thank you very much for your hospitality. Thank you all for coming. I want to thank those inside this packed hall. I want to thank the patient citizens who couldn't get in. Thank you for coming as well. I hope you can hear me. I appreciate your support, and I'm here to ask for it.


I come from the Southwest, so do you.


Yes, there's good people in the part of the world I come from, really good people from the part of the world you live in. I'm so thankful so many came out to say hello. I'm so go glad to be traveling with your governor. What a good man Engler is, what a good man.


And I love Candice, too.

Candice, thank you very much for being here. Candice Miller, your secretary of state has done a fine job.


Engler and I share something in common, we are both governors of big states and we both married well. And we both married Texas women. (APPLAUSE)

And my regret is that my wife isn't with me. Now, I know, I know. I wish she were. I tell you, she's a fabulous woman. See, you can judge the nature of a man by the company he keeps.


I keep really good company. I keep really good company with Laura.

You know, when I married her, she was a public school librarian, a one time public school teacher. I said, would you marry me. She said, fine, just so long as I don't have to give any speeches. She didn't particularly care about giving speeches, if the truth be known, she wasn't too fond of those giving them. I said, OK, you got a deal. Well, fortunately she didn't hold me to the promise.

What a fabulous speech she gave at our convention. What a great smile she has. I'm really proud of her. I can't tell you how much I love her and America is going to love her as the next first lady of the United States.


The reason I like for Laura to be with me, it helps people remember our priorities. Our priorities, my priority and Laura's priority is our faith.


Our priority is our family.


That needs to be America's priority by the way. America's families need to be the nation's priorities, all of us. All of us who are having to be a mother or a dad. If you are a mom or a dad, I look forward to reminding you that the most important job you will ever have is to love your children with all your heart and all your soul and all your mind. In this day of busy times and complicated lives, we got to remember the basics in our society, and being a loving mother or dad is the most basics of all basics.

And the other priority of ours, the other priority is we love our country. This is the greatest country on the face of the earth. What a great land! What a great land we have! What a great nation America is! So full of hope, so full of promise.


I learned a pretty good lesson in 1978. For those that are students who are here who might be interested in political science, I want to give you a basic political science lesson. I ran for the United States Congress out in West Texas. That's where I was raised. And I came in second in a two-person race. Notice I didn't say last. A leader must be optimistic.


A lady walked up to me in Midland, Texas, which was my home. She said, George W., I didn't vote for you. I said: Oh, really? why not? She said because you didn't bother to ask for my vote. Let it be said in Southwest Michigan, I'm here asking for the vote. I want your help.


We got less than two weeks to go. It's voting time in America and I want your help. I'm also here to ask for your help. This is a campaign that's more than just a person; it's a philosophy. It's an effort to change America.

This is a close race, and the team that's got the best grassroots organization is the team that's going to win. And let me tell you something, when I pull in you driveway, and see about 2,000 people, Dr. Papas, because the hall isn't big enough. And then come in and see thousands inside this hall, it makes me realize our grassroots is ready to go. Oh, yes, we're ready to go!


And while you are out there working for the next two weeks, while you are out there working, make sure you call upon open-minded Democrats and independent-minded people, because you know what? They hunger for responsible leadership as well. You know, we can do better in America. That's what this campaign is saying loud and clear. It says there's a better day ahead. It starts with having responsible leadership, leadership that stands on principle not on nightly polls or focus groups.


And here's our principles, here's our principles. We believe government ought to be limited. We don't believe in the heavy hand of government. We believe in the helping hand of government. That we believe in local control of schools. We trust people to make the best decisions for their lives. We believe that all school systems ought to be locally controlled and government closest to the people. Mr. Mayor, is the one that governs best. We believe in all public policy ought to encourage families to be strong and stay together. And we believe, and we believe that in order to make sure America is hopeful, we must usher in what's called the responsibility era, that all of us must be responsible for the decisions we make in life.


And that starts with having responsible leadership in Washington, D.C. And that's what this nation needs. Responsible -- a responsible leader, a responsible leader sets clear goals and works with people to achieve those goals. That's what leadership needs. That's what America needs, somebody to go to Washington and end the partisan bickering, the politics of division, the name-calling, the ugliness that has so much dominated our scene. We can do better, and that's exactly what we're going to do.

A leader is somebody, a leader is somebody who sets clear priorities and doesn't try to be all things to all people.


A leader is somebody -- a leader is somebody who sets clear priorities, doesn't try to be all things to all people. Here's our priorities. And it's best summarized by what we're going to do with the surplus. Let me explain the surplus right quick. That means government's got more money than it needs, otherwise it wouldn't be called a surplus. That's after we increase budgets, there's still money left over. One of the differences between me and my opponent is, if you listen carefully, he thinks the surplus exists because of the ingenuity and hard work of your federal government.

No, no, the surplus exists because of the ingenuity and hard work of the American people.


I want to use this time of prosperity. I want to use this time of prosperity to solve some major issues. When I first got going in the campaign I told the people, I said -- the people around me -- I said, one of the things we're going to do is we're going to talk about a plan to save and strengthen Social Security. And some of the advisers said, oh, no, you better not do that. Look what happens when Republicans talk about Social Security: they try to frighten seniors. After all, it is Halloween.


Soon. They try to scare seniors. But we're not going to let them get away with it this time.

ALLEN: Gov. George W. Bush rallying the crowd there at Lake Michigan College, what the Republicans are calling the Victory 2000 Rally. This is the second rally of the day for George Bush. He has another one this evening as it goes on and on. And we will also expect to hear from the Democratic candidate, Al Gore, within the next hour. He will be holding a rally in a suburb of Pittsburgh. We'll bring you that when it happens.



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